The two largest towns of Uganda, Kampala and Entebbe, lie only 37 km apart. Entebbe, after which the international airport is named, is set on Lake Victoria. Kampala, the capital of Uganda, has an equally scenic location on a series of hills some 10 km inland. Both enjoy Lake Victoria as their off-duty playground.
Kampala is a vibrant African city, bustling and full of the sights and smells and sounds of a forward-moving and dynamic capital. The traffic is terrible but there is always a great deal to look at if your car is slow moving as most of everyday life takes place on the street. People not only eat and drink, buy and sell on any scrap of land and the side of the road, but they also visit the barber and manufacture things within inches of the traffic too.
Though it sprawls over numerous hills, the business heart of the city is really quite small which makes it more appealing than other capitals in the developing world. Interesting tours in and around Kampala include the culturally and spiritually significant Kasubi Tombs and museum, the Bulange Palace, the cathedrals and the craft markets.
Entebbe is much sleepier but has the lovely botanical gardens and the lakeshore. The botanical gardens’ great claim to fame is that the rainforest zone in the gardens was used as a set during the filming of the original “Tarzan” film in 1940. It was established in the late 19th century and, unlike the parks and green places of Kampala, it has survived and thrived.
Near the gardens is the former zoo, now re-conceived as the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC), a rehabilitation centre for native Ugandan rescue animals. The idea is not only to rehabilitate the wildlife but also educate the people of Uganda (particularly the younger generation) about the importance of local animals and conservation. A visit here is one of the easiest ways to see species which are otherwise extremely hard to find, such as ostrich and the shoebill stork.
The lake shore is perfect for a stroll or for drinks at sundown. An evening sunset cruise is also very pleasant.
Lake Victoria is the largest of the Great Lakes of Africa and the largest tropical lake in the world. Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania all share its shores, though this enormous body of water is the size of a small country in its own right. There are numerous islands which are covered with tropical rainforest, fringed by white sandy beaches and dotted with traditional fishing villages. A prime example would be Ngamba Island. Also on Lake Victoria is Jinja, home to some of the best white-water rafting in the world and close to the source of the River Nile.